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4/14/2022 6:45 pm  #52


Re: Possibility of Site-specific Reservations and Increased Fees

I will stop camping in Algonquin if they go site specific. I prefer to do 2-4 week trips and I have no interest in spending time online figuring out what site to pick. It isn’t a hotel. Things like weather matter. They impact travel and site selection. I’m not staying on an open site in a storm on Big Trout when only 1/2 the sites are booked due to rules that ignore the reality of backcountry camping.

 

4/14/2022 6:47 pm  #53


Re: Possibility of Site-specific Reservations and Increased Fees

I was actually thinking of going further North this summer but might do one last big trip in Algonquin recognizing that it will probably be the last year I camp there.

And it isn’t because I am worried about picking the perfect site. We have only had one truly terrible site and one that we chose not to camp at that was terrible. But we pick a site based on if we are tired when we hit the lake or want to paddle on a bit and I’m not prepared to give that up.

Honestly I think they hope this will force most people who do trips that are longer than 2-3 days out of the park. It’s all part of the rebranding of OP as using a for profit model

Last edited by ChristineCanoes (4/14/2022 6:50 pm)

 

4/15/2022 10:11 am  #54


Re: Possibility of Site-specific Reservations and Increased Fees

No one wants to see prices go up and I’ll be the first with pitch fork in hand if they really Jack the rates up and I can COMPLETELY understand why solo and double paddlers would be livid at the thought of a change to per site fees as opposed to per person and I would definitely have my torch out to storm the gates against that.

But does it really matter if you camp on the east end of the lake versus the west end? It’s not like we were allowed to camp Willy nilly up to now (since the 80’s anyway). If you can’t get to your specific lake now due to whatever circumstances, you setup on a portage or an open campsite. If it’s site specific and you can’t get to your specific site due to whatever circumstance, you setup on a portage or an open campsite. The spontaneous roaming of Algonquin has been gone for a long time. I recall in the 80’s they had a regional permit system (am I dreaming that?) where you had choice of 3-4 lakes to spend your night on and that evolved to the current system of a specific lake, largely due to the number of people ending up paddling around a full lake while the next lake over was empty. This possible change is almost assuredly due to people complaining of circling a large lake looking for the 1 empty site late at night.

Yes I’m sure there is also profitability involved but my experience is the lakes are jammed and have been getting ever more jammed every year and OP has to do something to try and create the best experience for the largest number of users. People camp off site now, and will continue to due so in the future. This does nothing to address that. If arriving at big crow lake and getting to choose a campsite on that lake is important to you I guess we see things differently. I would rather show up at big crow lake and paddle directly to the site I’ve already chosen. This doesn’t distract from my experience of paddling many hours to reach that lake.

 

4/19/2022 8:15 pm  #55


Re: Possibility of Site-specific Reservations and Increased Fees

AlgonquinLakes wrote:

trippythings wrote:

I think people often forget that while the experienced canoe trippers may be the most vocal with their opinions, we don't represent the average park user. Like your poll showed, it honestly doesn't surprise me that many people, who represent the 'average' camper, may prefer the predictable itinerary that comes with booking specific campsites.
 .

You’re bang on with this I think. I imagine that the vast majority of people using APP don’t have the level of experience or investment in the Park that most AA frequent flyers would have. Planning a first or second (or third or fourth) canoe trip is daunting. I would think that anything to make the level of unknown a little less would be very popular.

Interestingly enough, the results from my polls bore this out. The one I put up on Facebook, where I would say i probably have the greatest number of casual camper followers as compared to the rest of my feeds, was overwhelmingly in favour of site specific bookings (it also had the lowest number of respondents, so that skews it a bit).

Exactly! The old dinosaurs need to open their minds and be more respectful of others
 

 

4/19/2022 8:26 pm  #56


Re: Possibility of Site-specific Reservations and Increased Fees

ChristineCanoes wrote:

I will stop camping in Algonquin if they go site specific. I prefer to do 2-4 week trips and I have no interest in spending time online figuring out what site to pick. It isn’t a hotel. Things like weather matter. They impact travel and site selection. I’m not staying on an open site in a storm on Big Trout when only 1/2 the sites are booked due to rules that ignore the reality of backcountry camping.

 
Hotels don't normally allow you to book a specific room, do they?...anyway, poor planning (including planning weather contingencies) doesn't trump the rights of the many who
secure access, safety and overall predictability in their trip planning...that's why a hybrid system might work well...is Big Trout ever 100% booked? I doubt that Big Trout would ever really require a site specific reservation given its location and number of sites tbh

 

4/19/2022 8:39 pm  #57


Re: Possibility of Site-specific Reservations and Increased Fees

BarryB wrote:

Polarization of positions and misrepresentation of opinions unfortunately creeps into many discussions these days. The creation of the PCI was a personal effort originally involving feedback from just one other. I had been feeling the increased effects of arthritis as a 'limiting factor' and was starting to look for 'accommodating' campsites and insight about various portages. Since many of us will have children and we all 'get old' eventually, as a 73 year old, I consider it a useful resource. 

Can we please refocus on my original post's .. "If the previously mentioned new park backcountry campsite inventory is intended to identify 'better campsites', and the lakes where they are located .. then maybe management is hoping to establish 'primary campsites' suitable for larger groups .. with better accessibility, numerous tent pads, levelness, etc. .. suitable for multi-generational families and with site-specific reservations. I could see this resulting in two-tier campsite standards, different fee structure, different map symbols, and a two-tiered reservation system? Any insight or opinions?

 

Exactly! G/god love you Barry for your selfless work...I'd almost given up on this forum and some of the selfish and entitled old-timers here
 

 

4/19/2022 8:43 pm  #58


Re: Possibility of Site-specific Reservations and Increased Fees

Jdbonney wrote:

No one wants to see prices go up and I’ll be the first with pitch fork in hand if they really Jack the rates up and I can COMPLETELY understand why solo and double paddlers would be livid at the thought of a change to per site fees as opposed to per person and I would definitely have my torch out to storm the gates against that.

But does it really matter if you camp on the east end of the lake versus the west end? It’s not like we were allowed to camp Willy nilly up to now (since the 80’s anyway). If you can’t get to your specific lake now due to whatever circumstances, you setup on a portage or an open campsite. If it’s site specific and you can’t get to your specific site due to whatever circumstance, you setup on a portage or an open campsite. The spontaneous roaming of Algonquin has been gone for a long time. I recall in the 80’s they had a regional permit system (am I dreaming that?) where you had choice of 3-4 lakes to spend your night on and that evolved to the current system of a specific lake, largely due to the number of people ending up paddling around a full lake while the next lake over was empty. This possible change is almost assuredly due to people complaining of circling a large lake looking for the 1 empty site late at night.

Yes I’m sure there is also profitability involved but my experience is the lakes are jammed and have been getting ever more jammed every year and OP has to do something to try and create the best experience for the largest number of users. People camp off site now, and will continue to due so in the future. This does nothing to address that. If arriving at big crow lake and getting to choose a campsite on that lake is important to you I guess we see things differently. I would rather show up at big crow lake and paddle directly to the site I’ve already chosen. This doesn’t distract from my experience of paddling many hours to reach that lake.

 
Exactly!

 

4/19/2022 9:01 pm  #59


Re: Possibility of Site-specific Reservations and Increased Fees

MartinG wrote:

@Barry

The impetus behind site specific booking and issuing permits base on campsites instead of individuals is not based on some sort of assessment of who uses the APP interior. It has been described by Ontario Parks as a way to align car camping and interior camping policies and procedures. It is an administrative change spurred on by an overarching initiative by the Provincial Government. It is not a change in response to user requests.

It would be nice if APP saw this looming and then tried to take this opportunity to realign their offerings, but I doubt it. Administrative changes like this are spurred on by the need to control costs and revenue. Could you imagine how expensive (and futile) it would be to bring all of the thousands of APP interior campsites up to an improved standard?

Totally seperate of this initiative, and governed by a different mandate, APP may very well come out with a teired system of campsites to specifically address Accessibility to Ontarians with Disabilities (AODA). I foresee the park creating new campsites or re-developing existing campsites on lakes like Cannisbay or Opeongo to ensure that APP and Ontario Parks complies with the AODA Act.

But this has nothing to do with the seperate requirement to change towards campsite bookings. Jon is transparently conflating his need to control outcomes with the admirable goal to provide opportunities. I believe this is a misguided and dangerous approach specifically as it applies to canoe tripping in a park as large as APP.

 
Respectfully my friend MartinG,  I'm not sure I accept that APP is doing this to harmonize car camping and backcountry camping...is there evidence of this? Nor do I accept that it is primarily a money grab (although I'm not against investing in our Parks). I have tripped in Killarney and the French River most recently - places that have moved to site specific and "tighter area-specific" reservations respectively...makes it much easier to plan a trip vs getting caught looking for an "accessible" site at the end of a long day! A public resource needs to be reasonably accomodating to all IMO

 

4/19/2022 9:35 pm  #60


Re: Possibility of Site-specific Reservations and Increased Fees

ChristineCanoes wrote:

I will stop camping in Algonquin if they go site specific. I prefer to do 2-4 week trips and I have no interest in spending time online figuring out what site to pick. It isn’t a hotel. Things like weather matter. They impact travel and site selection. I’m not staying on an open site in a storm on Big Trout when only 1/2 the sites are booked due to rules that ignore the reality of backcountry camping.

 
True, but wouldn't it be great if you could book like a boutique hotel?...."We need a ground floor 'cuz we have young kids and balconies are a problem...also, my spouse has arthritis so we can't climb up the stairs to your top floor on the third level...oh, and we're arriving late so no we cannot walk to your "sister hotel" 1 km down the beach...we need a cot for my sister-in-law who takes care of our special needs son - please ensure the room has floor space to accomodate it....oh, you can't accommodate our basic needs? You do realize I own this hotel, right?!?

 

4/19/2022 11:50 pm  #61


Re: Possibility of Site-specific Reservations and Increased Fees

As previously mentioned, several high demand places have gone site specific booking this year:
-Killarney
-Algonquin backpacking trails

Kawartha highlands is also site specific. I have also booked at Haliburton highlands water trails, which also is site specific booking. In the case of HHWT it was a good thing there was site specific booking as I had a squatter at my site & I could easily kick them off (saw the unfortunate nasty story on this forum of site pirates at Algonquin...). 

When I say squatter I mean squatter, I don't think it was a situation of an emergency, seemed they were taking a chance, camping without a permit... If there was not site specific booking, whoever arrived last could be hunting the lake for a free site that did not exist... Of course to reduce chances of this you need to book less sites than what is available, which is not efficient for high demand places & also to reduce paddling throughout the lake for those last to arrive.

I tend to agree that site specific booking does not have much benefit for off the beaten path lakes, but near access points there is much more benefit. Most people don't go deep into the park.

Opeongo (and probably any other motorboat permitted lakes) I think is a prime candidate for site specific booking. Even with the different arms, when the lake is full (despite unbooked sites) you could still waste a lot of time paddling the lake to find a free site & that can be tough at times due to distance & a big lake that can get Windy.

 

4/20/2022 6:10 am  #62


Re: Possibility of Site-specific Reservations and Increased Fees

SeekingSolitude wrote:

Opeongo (and probably any other motorboat permitted lakes) I think is a prime candidate for site specific booking. Even with the different arms, when the lake is full (despite unbooked sites) you could still waste a lot of time paddling the lake to find a free site & that can be tough at times due to distance & a big lake that can get Windy.

 
This seems like a reasonable approach. Make all lakes within a single day's paddle site-specific. Or alternatively, all lakes that are accessible through a 750-m portage or less (or maybe 1km?).

These are the highest-use lakes, and are the lakes where new campers would go.

It would also not be too intrusive for us who prefer deep interior camping - book a site-specific site the first night and last nigh, lake-based reservation for the rest of the trip.

Site specific would be better for Tom Thompson, Ragged, Rock, Opeongo, Ralph Bice etc etc.

But there is very little sense for deep interior lakes, and would significantly reduce the quality of the experience for people who do use those lakes.

 

4/20/2022 7:28 am  #63


Re: Possibility of Site-specific Reservations and Increased Fees

goneagainjon wrote:

MartinG wrote:

@Barry

The impetus behind site specific booking and issuing permits base on campsites instead of individuals is not based on some sort of assessment of who uses the APP interior. It has been described by Ontario Parks as a way to align car camping and interior camping policies and procedures. It is an administrative change spurred on by an overarching initiative by the Provincial Government. It is not a change in response to user requests.

It would be nice if APP saw this looming and then tried to take this opportunity to realign their offerings, but I doubt it. Administrative changes like this are spurred on by the need to control costs and revenue. Could you imagine how expensive (and futile) it would be to bring all of the thousands of APP interior campsites up to an improved standard?

Totally seperate of this initiative, and governed by a different mandate, APP may very well come out with a teired system of campsites to specifically address Accessibility to Ontarians with Disabilities (AODA). I foresee the park creating new campsites or re-developing existing campsites on lakes like Cannisbay or Opeongo to ensure that APP and Ontario Parks complies with the AODA Act.

But this has nothing to do with the seperate requirement to change towards campsite bookings. Jon is transparently conflating his need to control outcomes with the admirable goal to provide opportunities. I believe this is a misguided and dangerous approach specifically as it applies to canoe tripping in a park as large as APP.

 
Respectfully my friend MartinG,  I'm not sure I accept that APP is doing this to harmonize car camping and backcountry camping...is there evidence of this? Nor do I accept that it is primarily a money grab (although I'm not against investing in our Parks). I have tripped in Killarney and the French River most recently - places that have moved to site specific and "tighter area-specific" reservations respectively...makes it much easier to plan a trip vs getting caught looking for an "accessible" site at the end of a long day! A public resource needs to be reasonably accomodating to all IMO

 
OP has specifically said this change is to harmonize the reservation and permit process between car and backcountry.

 

4/20/2022 8:02 am  #64


Re: Possibility of Site-specific Reservations and Increased Fees

Ya there are definitely pros and cons to site specific booking

 

4/20/2022 8:12 am  #65


Re: Possibility of Site-specific Reservations and Increased Fees

The hybrid model would make the most sense, with access point lakes being site specific and interior lakes being first come first served....unfortunately, because it makes the most sense, it's the least likely outcome when dealing with the government. 

 

4/20/2022 9:06 am  #66


Re: Possibility of Site-specific Reservations and Increased Fees

Marko_Mrko wrote:

SeekingSolitude wrote:

Opeongo (and probably any other motorboat permitted lakes) I think is a prime candidate for site specific booking. Even with the different arms, when the lake is full (despite unbooked sites) you could still waste a lot of time paddling the lake to find a free site & that can be tough at times due to distance & a big lake that can get Windy.

 
This seems like a reasonable approach. Make all lakes within a single day's paddle site-specific. Or alternatively, all lakes that are accessible through a 750-m portage or less (or maybe 1km?).

These are the highest-use lakes, and are the lakes where new campers would go.

It would also not be too intrusive for us who prefer deep interior camping - book a site-specific site the first night and last nigh, lake-based reservation for the rest of the trip.

Site specific would be better for Tom Thompson, Ragged, Rock, Opeongo, Ralph Bice etc etc.

But there is very little sense for deep interior lakes, and would significantly reduce the quality of the experience for people who do use those lakes.

This sounds like a smart and more purposeful approach to system. Hopefully, OP can invest in this sort of an idea. 
 

 

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